Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Real Lavender Barn Wedding: Alex & Paul

Every time a Before the Big Day bride gets in touch to tell me about her wedding, I do a happy dance! The lovely Alex regularly read this blog for wedding inspiration, before her big day, so it gives me HUGE pleasure to feature the pictures from her gorgeous wedding! As you'd expect, it's packed to the brim with fabulous wedding ideas you'll want to steal - from the subtle lavender theme, the perfectly toned bridesmaids' dresses, Alex's exquisite bouquet including David Austin roses, and her Jimmy Choo look-a-like shoes from Next! Alex DIY'd lots of her wedding decorations, so don't miss the upcoming pictures of her and Paul's traditional barn reception {later this afternoon}. Huge thanks to Alex for filling in my Bride's Questionnaire with all her helpful hints, and to Dean Govier for his beautiful wedding pictures.


We got married on Saturday 28th July 2012 in St Mary’s Church in Whitchurch-on-Thames, which is the village I grew up in in South Oxfordshire. Our reception was at Ufton Court in Berkshire.


I hated wedding dress shopping!  My mum and sister took me to a wedding shop in Marlow which was full of horrible synthetic dresses, all strapless and not at all what I wanted.  The type that make you sweat as soon as you put them on!  I don't think they quite realised how awful the shop would be, but it did provide some entertainment!  I then decided to go-it-alone and went and tried about 15 dresses at different places, but none of them were right, and I actually came away from the experience rather downhearted.


 It was my sister who suggested I get my dress made, as she had done, and she found me a dress maker in Henley-on-Thames.  From the moment I met Hannah I could tell that she was the lady for me, and I trusted her implicitly to make me the dress of my dreams!  My dress was a mish-mash of styles I had seen and liked, and Hannah pulled them together beautifully. As we were getting married in the summer, I wanted something lightweight and easy to move around in, so I had several layers of tulle, georgette and chiffon built up to give the dress a 'floaty' feel.  I felt so comfortable in it all day, and I could breathe!


Hannah also made my cathedral length veil, with lace along the bottom so it gave an illusion of a train. My shoes were a steal from Next of all places and were actually pretty comfy.  They reminded me of some Jimmy Choo ones that I loved, but simply couldn’t afford.


I had a hair comb made by Poppy from Connie and Dolly, who I met at a wedding fair in Chiswick.  She used vintage brooches and earrings, and incorporated a bow, to tie in with the lace pattern on my dress.  My earrings were ordered as a last week panic the week of the wedding from Olivier Laudus, and only arrived the day before! They were perfect and well worth the wait!


It was important for Paul to get married in church, and the only church I would have ever got married in was the one we did. I grew up in the village of Whitchurch-on-Thames and anywhere else wouldn’t have felt right, as I wanted to get ready at home.


Paul, his two bestmen and our usher, my brother-in-law, wore the 'Royal Ascot' morning suit from Moss Bros. As we were having a traditional English country church wedding, we thought it would be nice for him to wear tails. Paul wears a suit to work every day, so he wanted something different. 


We bought Paul's lilac tie from Thomas Pink to compliment the bridesmaids dresses. As a wedding gift I bought him some original 'lucky' sixpence cufflinks, which was the first thing he proudly showed to me when I met him at the alter!

Four of the bridesmaids dresses, the lavender ones, were from Dessy, but I had them shipped over from America for half the price – a definite tip for future brides {watch the import tax though!}. I had a very particular colour that I wanted, a heathery purple colour, which I couldn’t find anywhere and the closest I found were the dresses from Dessy. It’s the old adage of when you’re looking for something you can never find it, and I didn't help myself by being so fixated on this colour - with hindsight, I wish that I had been a bit more relaxed about it! My bridesmaids' shoes were from Dune, and I bought them a brooch and earrings as a thank you gift, which they wore on the day.

My flower girls, my beautiful nieces, wore dresses from Boden and sandals from M&S. I wanted them to have dresses they could wear for the rest of the summer, and that were also comfortable and lightweight. I also bought them a hairband each from Etsy. They still wear them for dressing up! My eldest niece actually wore pretty much her whole outfit the day after the wedding as well!


I wanted my sister, who was my maid of honour, to stand out from the other girls and chose grey to compliment the morning suits of the boys. I wanted everything to be very tonal. Her dress was a nightmare to find as it had to be just the right tone of grey. In the end she ordered a dress from a Spanish website {all very international!} and then Hannah, my dressmaker, added the sleeves and trim to the bottom.


Luckily my mother-in-law does floristry in her spare time and kindly offered to do our wedding flowers for us. I was very particular, in that I wanted to include lavender in my bouquet as it is a scent that reminds me of my grandmother. I also wanted the flowers to be pale colours in a soft palette – pinks, peaches, creams - with pale green leaves. The bridesmaids had the same, but with no pink, and the flower girls had just lavender. All were hand-tied with lace. Paul’s buttonhole tied in with my bouquet and also featured lavender sprigs.



I also wanted the flowers to be pale colours in a soft palette – pinks, peaches, creams - with pale green leaves. The bridesmaids had the same, but with no pink, and the flower girls had just lavender. All were hand-tied with lace. Paul’s buttonhole tied in with my bouquet and also featured lavender sprigs.



My bouquet was made up of David Austin roses {they came on the Thursday before the wedding and half of them were dead! I was so upset having spent quite a considerable amount on them, but my mother-in-law replaced them and I didn’t even notice the difference!}, carnations {which I truly believe are underrated!}, hydrangeas, gypsophilia, a lavender collar and seneicio leaves.



Our wedding photographer was Dean Govier and he was beyond amazing. He was recommended to us through one of my bridesmaids, who had been at a wedding he had photographed in the same area.

When I saw his photos I knew Dean was our guy. We loved his natural style, and he was such a pleasure to have around on the day. He just seamlessly blended into the background. I cannot recommend him enough.

We also chose to have a videographer and found a company, Family Creative, who were just starting out in the business. We were delighted with the final version, and I think I must have watched the DVD about a million times! Getting a wedding video definitely brings your day to life, and having the footage to look back on adds another dimension.


Our general wedding theme was centred on lavender and lace with accents of grey. The smell of lavender reminds me of my grandmother, plus I love the colour. I also had lace on my dress and wanted to reflect that throughout our wedding. Paul also wanted to make sure he had a 'stamp' on the day, so we incorporated his love of Tottenham FC wherever we could, without it being too tacky!



More posts like this one:

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